Focus Features

Film Review: 'The Dead Don't Die' Offers Full-On Horror Homage But Little Else

dead don't die

CHICAGO – Before Jordan Peele, before Mike Flanagan, before James Wan, and especially before all of Blumhouse, there were other masters of horror who paved the way for the filmmakers we know today. The Carpenters, the Cravens, and the Argentos of the world helped turn horror into the thriving genre it is today. Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die” openly acknowledges this with their love letter approach to the genre itself.

Film News: Patrick McDonald Hosts ‘Bathtubs Over Broadway' for AHFS on May 13, 2019

Bathtubs Over Broadway

CHICAGO – How does one man rediscover and revive an art form? This question is answered in the magnificent “Bathtubs Over Broadway,” a 2018 documentary about the quest of comedy writer Steve Young, as he saves the legacy of the “industrial musical,” a form of American corporate entertainment from the 1950s through the ‘70s. Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com will host a screening of the film on Monday, May 13th, 2019 (7:30pm), and facilitate a discussion afterward, at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, Ill. To purchase tickets, click here.

Film Review: Familiar Scares of ‘Greta’ Has Too Many Plot Holes

CHICAGO – Admittedly, horror films are not my thing. I find them redundant, pandering and more reliant on gore rather than story. “Greta” is somewhat of a thriller horror film, about an older lady stalker preying on a younger New York City woman, but it had both a seen-it-before and unreliable plot.

Film Review: ‘Bathtubs Over Broadway’ Revives a Forgotten Art Form

Bathtubs Over Broadway

CHICAGO – There are cultural heroes, and then there is comedy writer Steve Young. Through sheer happenstance, he began a journey that ended up with a rediscovery of an art form that without Young’s intervention would have died. The U.S. corporation Broadway-style “industrial musical,” which highlighted products or sales meetings in a song and dance presentation, were at its peak popularity from the 1950s through the ‘70s. “Bathtubs Over Broadway” is Young’s documentary of appreciation for those shows and and his intervention to revive them.

Film Review: A Heroic Ruth Bader Ginsburg in ‘On the Basis of Sex’

CHICAGO – Many heroes of America toiled long behind the scenes to break the chains of oppression. For every Susan Anthony or Martin Luther King Jr. there were the activists, legal experts and volunteers who sought the justice denied to them by the archaic patriarchal society. One such hero is Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the film “On the Basis of Sex.”

Film Review: ‘Boy Erased’ Thrives On Empathy, Lacks Overall Conviction

CHICAGO – America is facing a confusing time of crisis, again. There are giant groups of people who are ready to hate other people for biological traits that can’t—and don’t need to—be changed, like skin color, sexual orientation, and race. “Boy Erased” adds to the national dialogue by showing the devastating effects this type of mentality can have inside our own families, and how to prevent it.

Podtalk: Joel Edgerton & Garrard Conley for ‘Boy Erased’

CHICAGO – In “Boy Erased,” the story is based on a memoir by Garrard Conley, about his experiences going through “gay conversion” therapy… that exists to change a gay person to a straight person. Director/actor Joel Edgerton adapted Conley’s book, and created a heart-breaking film of real American institutions that try to deny nature.

Film News: DAY NINE of 54th Chicago International Film Festival Highlights a ‘Boy Erased’

Boy Interrupted

CHICAGODAY EIGHT of the 54th Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) on Thursday, October 18th, 2018, spotlights one of the most sensitive and important message films of the years, the stark “Boy Erased,” directed, adapted and featuring Joel Edgerton. Also catch up with Short Films in three programs.

Film Review: ‘BlackKkKlansman’ is a Spike Lee Joint That Burns

CHICAGO – Director Spike Lee has hit the motherlode in good timing of the kind that says “Everything Old is New Again.” His overview in the true story of a black man that went undercover within the Klu Klux Klan in the 1970s nicely mirrors our current president’s divisiveness in the incendiary “BlacKkKlansman.”

Film Review: Charlize Theron in ‘Tully’ Turns Mom Into Martyr

CHICAGO – “Tully” is a deeply weird motherhood fantasy snuck inside the friendly-but-distancing screenwriting constructs of another pseudo ironic story by Diablo Cody. Charlize Theron plays Margo, a mother of two kids with a third due any day, struggling with the sacrifices she’s made for motherhood.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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